Does anyone have any more knowledge regarding Ezekiel's prophecy about Egypt becoming desolate for 40 years?
I know that Nebuchadnezzar ransacked much of Egypt and carried away booty as Ezekiel had stated, as well as the Egyptians being taken as captives by Nebuchadnezzar.
We know that Cyrus the Great deported the captives back to their original countries including Egypt, as what Ezekiel said; and that after the Egyptians returned Egypt became a lowly kingdom, as what Ezekiel had said.

Does anyone know how long the time span between Nebuchadnezzar taking the Egyptians as slaves to Cyrus releasing the Egyptians? Was this 40 years, or a different time span?

2 Answers 2


I have found secular history's time lines to be problematic in several areas. But there is enough information to be able to rely upon the prophesy of the 40 year desolation of Egypt.

Adam Clarke's commentary on Ezekiel chap. 29 indicates a 40 year time span from the taking by Nebuchadnezzar to the release under Cyrus.

Introduction Chap. 29,

"and God is introduced denouncing, in plain terns, the most awful judgments against him and his nation, and declaring that the Egyptians should be subjected to the Babylonians till the fall of the Chaldean empire, Ezekiel 29:8-12. The prophet then foretells that Egypt, which was about to be devastated by the Babylonians, and many of the people carried into captivity, should again become a kingdom; but that it should never regain its ancient political importance; for, in the lapse of time, it should be even the Basest of the kingdoms, a circumstance in the prophecy most literally fulfilled, especially under the Christian dispensation, in its government by the Mameluke slaves, Ezekiel 29:13-16. The prophecy, beginning at the seventeenth verse, is connected with the foregoing, as it relates to the same subject, though delivered about seventeen years later. Nebuchadnezzar and his army, after the long siege of Tyre, which made every head bald by constantly wearing their helmets, and wore the skin of off every shoulder by carrying burdens to raise the fortifications, were disappointed of the spoil which they expected, by the retiring of the inhabitants to Carthage. God, therefore, promises him Egypt for his reward, Ezekiel 29:17-20. The chapter concludes with a prediction of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, Ezekiel 29:21."

Clarke's Commentary on verse 13,

"Will I gather the Egyptians - It is probable that Cyrus gave permission to the Egyptians brought to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, to return to their own country. And if we reckon from the commencement of the war against Pharaoh-hophra by Nebuchadnezzar, to the third or fourth year of Cyrus, the term will be about forty years." Source: here.

Gill's Exposition on verse 13,

"Yet thus saith the Lord God, at the end of forty years,.... Reckoning from its devastation by Nebuchadnezzar to the taking of Babylon by Cyrus:

will I gather the Egyptians from the people whither they were scattered; from Babylon, and other places; Cyrus very probably being stirred up by the Lord to proclaim liberty to the Egyptians, as he did to the Jews, to return to their own land; and at the same time restored Amasis to the quiet possession of his kingdom, who must be still alive; since, according to Diodorus Siculus (w), he reigned fifty five years; though, according to Herodotus (x), he reigned but forty four years. " Source: here.

Egypt's desolation was also prophesied by Jeremiah in chap. 46.

The indication by many commentators is that when Babylon fell to Cyrus, then Cyrus gave the Egyptians their freedom. But, determining the years from secular historical records is problematic.

Historians place the fall of Babylon about 539 BC. This would put the fall of Egypt 40 years earlier in 579 BC. This does not comport with the secular records of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Egypt in 568 BC. The secular records are off.

Excerpt from Keil and Delitzsh OT Commentary on Verses 17-18, The contents of the prophecy, namely, the assurance that God would give Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar as spoil in return for the hard labour which he and his army had performed at Tyre, point to the time immediately following the termination of the thirteen years' siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar. If we compare with this the date given in Ezekiel 29:17, the siege was brought to a close in the twenty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin, i.e., b.c. 572, and must therefore have commenced in the year b.c. 586, or about two years after the destruction of Jerusalem, and with this the extract given by Josephus (c. Ap. i. 21) from the Tyrian annals agrees." Source: here.

As another source places the Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Egypt in 588 BC, with the end of their desolation in 548 BC. And, that would mean that the fall of Babylon to Cyrus was about 9 years earlier than secular history records it. See the info at "Jerusalem 607 BCE" here.


Note that Clarke, Gill and Keil and Delitzsch cited above wrote before archaeological work in Egypt and the Ancient Near East had got underway to any degree.

We have contemporary records of life continuing much as ever throughout the period leaving no room for any supposed depopulation.

See from page 4 of URL link at A Chronological Survey of Precisely Dated Demotic and Abnormal Hieratic Sources http://www.etana.org/node/10784

For more detail on what those records in the link above refer to see the post which begins "For what it's worth," by Leolaia on page 7 of the following thread https://www.jehovahs-witness.com/topic/186163/ezekiel-29-12-prophecy-desolation-egypt-40-years?page=7

The following is a copy/paste of Leolaia's post. To avoid some head scratching I should note that the inserted comments were intended to rebutt Jehovah's Witness chronology which places the first temple destruction in Jerusalem in 607 BCE not 587 BCE.

"Year 1 of Amasis (570/569 BC)

BM 952 (Int. Inv. 803-081-730). Dated to Year 1, Month Phaophi, Day 1 (= February 12, 570 BC). This is a document from the east bank of the Nile south of el-Hibeh relating the donation of ten arourae of dray land in the district of Shakek to maintain a lamp in the temple of Horus at Hutnesu, granted to Djedtheotefankh son of Pediese.

Berlin 14998. Dated to Year 1, Month Phamenoth (= July/August 570 BC). This is a stele from the Western Delta relating the donation of land.

Elephantine Stele. Dated to the Year 4 but describes events from Year 1, Month Paoni (= October/November 570 BC), relating how Amasis in his palace at Sais was informed that Apries approached with boats filled with Greeks and how Amasis routed the opposition.

Louvre C. 298 (Int. Inv. 803-081-895). Dated to Year 1, Month Mesore, Day 1 (= December 9, 570 BC). This is a stele from Pharbaithos relating the donation of six arourae of land to Osiris of Ramehat (near Hurbeit).

Year 2 of Amasis (569/568 BC)

P John Rylands III. Dated to Year 2, Month Phaophi (?) (= February/March 569 BC). Demotic papyrus stating debts owed.

P John Rylands V. Dated to Year 2, Month Paoni (= October/November 569 BC). This document acknowledges the debt owed by Peftjauawykhonsu to the priest Nessematawy.

Year 3 of Amasis (568/567 BC)

P John Rylands VI. Dated to Year 3, Month Thoth (= January/February 568 BC). Sale of self as slave by Peftjauawykhonsu to the priest Nessematawy, in return for payment and actions performed "in Year 2 when I was dying" (P Rylands V).

P Louvre E. 7861. Dated to Year 3, Month Tobi (= May/June 568 BC). A demotic papyrus from Thebes in which Userertais discharges Djekhe son of Tesmont from a debt.

Cairo T. Dated to Year 3. A land donation stele from Bubastis.

Year 4 of Amasis (567/566 BC)

BM 33041. Dated to Year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar (= 568/567 BC). This cuneiform tablet records that Nebuchadnezzar marched against Egypt in his Year 37, to which [Ama]-sis the king of Egypt responded by raising forces from Cyrene (i.e. Putu-iaman), the Mediterranean, and within Egypt. The result of the campaign is not stated on account of the fragmentary condition of the tablet.

Elephantine Stele. Dated to Year 4, Month Hathor, Day 8 (= March 22, 567 BC). This monumental inscription states that an Asiatic (i.e. Babylonian) invasion of Egypt by land and sea was defeated and that the deposed pharaoh Apries, accompanying the foreign army, did not survive and was buried with honors.

These two inscriptions refer to the attack on Egypt predicted by Ezekiel (ch. 29). Ezekiel's oracle is dated to the Year 27 of Jehoiachin's exile (= 572/571 BC, with Jehoiachin taken captive after the fall of Jerusalem in March 16, 597 BC). Ezekiel thus wrote some 4-5 years prior to the campaign itself. The Elephantine Stele shows that the decisive battle between Nebuchadnezzar and Amasis occurred at the end of Nebuchadnezzar's Year 37, with the king of Babylon marching to Egypt for much of the latter half of that year. The Egyptian and Babylonian chronology thus match perfectly. The Elephantine Stele also shows that Nebuchadnezzar was not successful, contrary to Ezekiel's expectations. Nebuchadnezzar also was allied with the deposed Apries, so it is unlikely he would have turned around to betray Apries and carry the entire population into captivity should he win the campaign. Indeed it is difficult to imagine how the Babylonian army alone could have carried the entire Egyptian population (then at about 7.5 million) into captivity, something that had never occurred in all of Egypt's long history.

It is thus at this point where the supposed "40 year" hiatus should begin. Ezekiel expected that the Egyptian king would be killed and not be buried (29:5), Egypt would be left without any ruler (30:13), Tanis, Thebes, and other important cities would be razed (30:8, 14, 16), the land of Egypt would be completely depopulated without an inhabitant for the ensuing 40 years (29:10-11, 30:23), and all the surviving Egyptians would be scattered among the nations in captivity (29:12). It is thus significant if we find that Amasis was still king after his Year 4, that Thebes and other cities were still inhabited, and that life continued as usual without interruption.

Year 5 of Amasis (566/565 BC)

Louvre IM 4131. Relates the birth of the 5th Apis of the 26th Dynasty, dated to Year 5 of Amasis, Month Thoth, Day 7 (= January/February 566 BC), and then enthroned in the Apis temple at Memphis in Year 5, Month Paoni, Day 18 (= October/November 566 BC).

About a year after Nebuchadnezzar's campaign, a bull was born in Memphis and was designated as the official Apis nine months later. Life in Memphis continues unchanged.

Year 6 of Amasis (565/564 BC)

P Louvre E. 7860. Dated to Year 6, Month Phamenoth, Day 10 (= July 19, 565 BC). A land lease written in abnormal hieratic, on the leasing of six arourae of land for harvesting into Year 7.

Year 8 of Amasis (563/564 BC)

BM 1427. Dated to Year 8 of Amasis. This stele records the dedication of a temple and land to Neith and Horus at Sais.

P John Rylands VII. Dated to Year 8, Month Khoiak (= April/May 563 BC). This papyrus document renews the acknowledgement of servitude by Peftjauawykhonsu to Nessematawy, effective from Hathor 5 of Year 8 to same date in Year 9.

P John Rylands VIII. Dated to Year 8, Month Pakhons (= September/October 562 BC). This document from el-Hibeh is a receipt of a sale of a cow by Djeptahef'onkh son of Patiptah to Petiesi son of Nessematawy.

These documents show that Peftjauawykhonsu and Petiesi son of Nessematawy, residents of Thebes mentioned in documents from Years 2 and 3, were still in Thebes in Year 8. They were not carried off into captivity in Year 4; life was continuing as usual in Thebes without interruption.

Year 12 of Amasis (559/558 BC)

P Louvre E. 7855. Dated to Year 12, Month Hathor, Day 8 (= March/April 559 BC). This papyrus is a letter from Djefmin to Djekhe asking him to take care of Metertais and child.

P Louvre E. 7848. Double-dated to Year 12, Month Paoni, Day 13 according to the civil calendar (which is the usual calendar used for dates) and Year 12, Month Pakhons, Day 15 of the lunar calendar (= October 5, 559 BC). This document annuls a marriage contract made several years earlier.

The double-dating confirms the accuracy of the dating, as the lunar date is independent and fixed to the lunar phase of the moon. Because the two calendars are of different lengths, the coinciding of the two dates can occur only once every 25 years. This rules out the Watchtower chronology which moves conventional dates back by only 20 years.

P Louvre E. 7841. Dated to Year 12, Month Epiphi, Day 5 (= November 10, 559 BC). A papyrus land donation document.

Year 13 of Amasis (558/557 BC)

P Berlin 13616. Dated to Year 13. This demotic document reports on a strike by quarrymen in Elephantine, who went to the town and smashed up stones and statues.

Year 14 of Amasis (557/556 BC)

Leiden I 431. Dated to Year 14, Month Khoiak (= April/May 557 BC). Memorandum from Thebes written on a wooden tablet in abnormal hieratic.

Year 15 of Amasis (556/555 BC)

P Bruxelles E 6031. Dated to Year 15, Month Hathor (= March/April 556 BC). A demotic land contract from Thebes.

P Louvre E. 10935. Dated to Year 15, Month Hathor (= March/April 556 BC). A donation document in which Psammetik-menkhe gives ten arouras of land in the domain of Amun to Esamun waterpourer of the necropolis of Thebes, in charge of her funerary service.

BM 10432. Dated to Year 15, Month Mesore (= December 556 BC - January 555 BC). A lease from Thebes of land tracts sown with flax, leased to Thotorais son of Peteharpochrates and seven others.

Year 16 of Amasis (555/554 BC)

Leningrad Ermitage 18499. Monumental stele dating to Year 16 of Amasis.

P Louvre E. 7844. Dated to Year 16, Month Epiphi (November/December 555 BC). Land lease from Thebes for a tract for harvesting grain, leased to Esamonothes son of Petemnophis and Djekhe son of Tesmont.

Djekhe son of Tesmont previously appeared in P Louvre E. 7861, dated to Year 3. He lived in Thebes prior to Nebuchadnezzar's campaign, and he lived in Thebes many years after Nebuchadnezzar's campaign. Life continued in Thebes unchanged.

Year 17 of Amasis (554/553 BC)

P Louvre E. 7845 A. Dated to Year 17, month Phamenoth (= July/August 554 BC). Land lease from Thebes of a tract in the Southern District to the west of Thebes for harvesting grain in the following year, leased to Psammetichus son of Chapochrates son of Efau.

Year 19 of Amasis (552/551 BC)

P Louvre E. 7847. Dated to Year 19, Month Paoni, Day 25 (= October 29, 552 BC). A harvest receipt written in abnormal hieratic.

Year 21 of Amasis (550/549 BC)

Tanta Stele No. 259. Dated to Year 21 (?) of Amasis. A damaged donation tablet.

Year 22 of Amasis (549/548 BC) P Louvre E. 7846. Dated to Year 22, Month Epiphi, Day 5 (= November 7, 549 BC). Marriage contract between water-pourer Ieturou son of Petiesi and Tshenkhnum daughter of Djeho son of Amenertais. This contract replaces a contract drawn up in Year 15.

Year 23 of Amasis (548/547 BC)

Berlin 2140. Dated to Year 23. A limestone dedication stele written in demotic.

Louvre IM 4131. Relates the death of the 5th Apis of the 26th Dynasty, dated to Year 23 of Amasis, Month Pakhons, Day 15 (= September/October 548 BC). The same stele states that the bull lived a total of 18 years and 6 months.

Since the same stele states that the bull was born on January/February 566 BC, this shows that the time period between Year 5 and Year 23 of Amasis was a continuous one.

Cairo CD 690. Dated to Year 23 of Amasis. This is the grave stele of Besmaut, and the inscription also states that he was born in Year 18 of Psammetichus I and lived for a total of 99 years.

This lifespan shows that there isn't any hidden 40-year hiatus between Year 4 and 5 of Amasis. The grave steles of the 3rd and 4th Apis of the 26th Dynasty show that 16 years and 7 months span between Year 53 of Psammetichus I, Month Mekhir (= July/August 612 BC) and Year 16 of Necho II, Month Phaophi (= February/March 595 BC) and 17 years and 6 months span between Year 16 of Necho II, Month Phaophi (= February/March 595 BC) and Year 12 of Apries, Month Pharmouthi (August/September 578 BC). Since the 4th Apis was born a day after the death of the 3rd Apis, this attests a continuous period of 34 years and 1 month between Year 53 of Psammetichus I and Year 12 of Apries. Besmaut was born in Year 18 of Psammetichus I, so Besmaut lived a total of 69 years between Year 18 of Psammetichus and Year 12 of Apries. This shows already that there could not have been an additional 40 years inserted between Years 4 and 5, since he lived to only age 99 and 23 years had already elapsed in Amasis' reign (69 + 23 + 40 = 132, a number not less than 99). We know from other grave stele that Apries reigned until Year 19, an additional 7 years after Year 12. This fits perfectly with this chronology (69 + 7 + 23 = 99). This proves that no additional 40 years are to be inserted between Year 4 and 5. Otherwise, Besmaut would have died at age 139, an impossible age at any rate, and an age that conflicts with what is written on the stele itself.

Pausanius, Graecae Descriptio 10.5.13, Herodotus, Historiae 2.180. According to Herodotus, Amasis generously gave donations to the citizens of Delphi when they came down to Egypt seeking financial assistance following the burning of their temple at Delphi. Pausanius states that the temple of Delphi burned down in Year 1 of the 58th Olympiad (= 548 BC) when Diognetus of Crotona was victorious at the Olympic Games, during the archonship of Erxicleides of Athens.

Here the entirely independent Greek Olympiad chronology matches perfectly with Egyptian chronology. The temple at Delphi thus burned down in Year 23 of Amasis. But if Nebuchadnezzar had depopulated Egypt in Year 4 of Amasis, there wouldn't have been anyone in Egypt to assist the Delphians.

Year 24 of Amasis (547/546 BC)

P Cairo 30657. Dated to Year 24, Month Mekhir (= June/July 547 BC). This is a contract concerning the safeguarding of property written in a hybrid of abnormal hieratic and demotic.

P Vindob 3873. Dated to Year 24. This papyrus relates the discovery of a replacement Apis to succeed the bull that died in Year 23. This Apis however would die before being installed.

Year 26 of Amasis (545/544 BC)

P Louvre E. 7854. Dated to the end of Amasis' reign but contains an older text dated to Year 26 of Amasis. This is a palimpsest from Thebes written in demotic script concerning an offer by Djedkhonswiuf'onkh to Petiesi son of Nessematawy, priest of Amun, to fulfill a debt as payment for manure.

The priest Petiesi son of Nessematawy was previously mentioned in documents dating to Years 2, 3, and 8. He is still active in Thebes in Year 26. This shows that life continues unchanged in Thebes.

Year 27 of Amasis (544/543 BC)

P Cairo 30665. Dated to Year 27, Month Khoiak (= April/May 544 BC). A divorce contract written in demotic.

Leiden AP 57-58 (Int. Inv. 803-072-200, 201). Dated to Year 27, Month Pharmouthi, Day 28 (= August/September 544 BC). These are two grave stelae of a priest named Psammetichus who died in Parmouthi of Year 27. The same stelae state that he was born in Year 1 of Necho II, Month Epiphi, Day 1 (= November/December 610 BC) and lived a total of 65 years, 10 months, and 2 days.

This again establishes that no hiatus of 40 years could be squeezed between Years 4 and 5 of Amasis' reign. The other stelae show that the span between Year 1 of Necho II (in November/December) and Year 23 of Amasis (in August/September) was a few days shy of 61 years and 10 months. These later stelae are dated to Year 27, 4 years later. A date in August/September 544 BC fits with an age of 65 years and 10 months.

Louvre IM 4133. Relates the birth of the 6th Apis of the 26th Dynasty in Year 27 of Amasis. This is the bull's grave stele, dated to Year 6 of Cambyses, Month 11 (= October/November 524 BC), the date when the bull was buried. The next Apis was born in Year 5 of Cambyses, Month Tobi, Day 29 (= May 29, 525 BC), as Louvre IM 4187 states. These two stelae together prove that Cambyses did not murder the Apis at Memphis in his conquest of Egypt, as related by Herodotus (Historiae 3.27), as the two bulls could not have been alive at the same time.

Year 28 of Amasis (543/542 BC)

P Cairo 50058. Dated to Year 28, Month Phaophi (= February/March 543 BC). A demotic document from Siut, the capital of the 13th nome, concerning the division of property belonging to a priest.

Year 29 of Amasis (542/541 BC)

BM 10117. Dated Year 29, Month Thoth (= January/February 542 BC). A demotic contract on the sale of land in Thebes.

Year 31 of Amasis (540/539 BC)

BM [P. Notice 88]. Dated to Year 31, Month Hathor, Day 2 (= March 7, 540 BC). A papyrus letter written in demotic.

P Louvre E. 7842. Dated to Year 31, Month Tobi (= May/June 540 BC). A demotic receipt for tax paid from the harvesting of land.

P Cairo 31053. Dated to Year 31, Month Mesore, Day 8 (= December 8, 540 BC). A demotic contract found in the tomb of Ptahhotep in Saqqara.

Year 32 of Amasis (539/538 BC)

P Louvre E. 7832. Dated to Year 32, Month Hathor (= March/April 539 BC). Sale of self as slave by Hor to the waterpourer Ieturoz at Thebes.

Berlin 8439. Dated to Year 32. Foundation stele by Amasis for a temple at Bubastis.

According to the Nabonidus Chronicle, Babylon fell to Cyrus on October 12, 539 BC. Thus this would have occurred during Year 32 of Amasis. Prior to his defeat, Nabonidus had formed a coalition with Amasis and Croesus of Lydia to counter the Persian threat. But if a 40-year hiatus followed Year 4 of Amasis, there would have been no Egyptian king for Nabonidus to form an alliance with. Inserting 40 years between Years 4 and 5 is also prohibited by the evidence above (such as Cairo CD 690 and Leiden AP 57-58).

Year 33 of Amasis (538/537 BC)

P Louvre E. 7840. Dated to Year 33, Month Phamenoth (= July/August 538 BC). A demotic ledger of deliveries in food and wine from Thebes.

Year 34 of Amasis (537/536 BC)

P Louvre E. 7835. Dated to Year 34, Month Phamenoth (= July/August 537 BC). A receipt for tax for land in the domain of Amun in the field of Pahi.

P Berlin 13614. Dated to Year 34. Contract to protect the interests of Tshenyah's children by Haptertais.

Year 35 of Amasis (536/535 BC)

Florence Psammetichus Stele. Dated to Year 35 of Amasis, Month Pahophi, Day 6 (= February/March 536 BC). This is a grave stele for a man named Psammetichus, son of a woman named Fekrot. The same monument states that Psammetichus was born in Year 3 of Necho II, Month Paoni (= October/November 608 BC) and that he lived for a total of 71 years, 4 months, and 6 days.

This is yet another document proving that an extra 40 years cannot be inserted between Years 4 and 5 of Amasis. We already know from the other grave stelae that Year 3 of Necho II is 72 years prior to Year 35 of Amasis. With Psammetichus' birth occurring at the end of Year 3 of Necho II, there would have been 71 complete years until October/November of Year 34 of Amasis, and then 4 months from October/November 537 BC to February/March 536 BC. This shows that there was no room for another 40 years in the 71 years that Psammetichus lived. Adding this span as a hiatus within the reign of Amasis also extends the lifespan of Psammetichus to an improbable age of 111 which also contradicts what is written on the stele itself.

P Louvre E. 7834. Dated to Year 35, Month Tobi (= May/June 536 BC). A receipt for tax for the previous year.

P Louvre E. 7838. Dated to Year 35, Month Tobi (= May/June 536 BC). A receipt for tax for the previous year.

P Louvre E. 7836. Dated to Year 35, Month Epiphi (= October/November 536 BC). A sharecropping contract from Thebes with herdsman of Mont Petemont son of Puhamon to cultivate a farm for Teturoz.

P Louvre E. 7843. Dated to Year 35, Month Mesore (= December 536 BC - January 535 BC). A demotic contract for a partnership.

Year 36 of Amasis (535/534 BC)

P Louvre E. 7833. Dated to Year 36, Month Pakhons (= September 535 BC). A land lease from Thebes of tracts in the Coptos district in the west of the highland for harvest the following year, leased to Mont Petemont son of Puhamon. P Louvre E. 7450. Dated to Year 36, Month Pakhons (= September 535 BC). A similar land lease from Thebes.

Year 37 of Amasis (534/533 BC)

Mother of Apis Stele 72/1 + N. Dated to Year 37, Month Phaophi, Day 24 (= February 26, 534 BC). A demotic stele of the mother of the installed Apis bull at the serapeum at North Saqqara.

P Louvre E. 7839. Dated to Year 37, Month Mekhir (June/July 534 BC). A Theban land lease for tracts for harvest the following year to Petetum son of Petenephotes.

Year 38 of Amasis (533/532 BC)

P Louvre E. 7850. Dated to Year 38, Month Mesore (November/December 533 BC). A demotic receipt of the sale of a bull to pay for a burial at a necropolis.

Eusebius, Chronice Canones (Latin translation of Jerome), Bodlein MS, Thucydides, Historiae 1.13.6, Herodotus, Historiae 3.39-45. According to Eusebius, Polycrates became the tyrant of Samos in the 4th year of the 61st Olympiad, (= 533/532 BC). This is double-dated in the Armenian translation to ab Abramo 1484 (= 533/532 BC). Thus Polycrates assumed power in Year 38 of Amasis. Herodotus relates that during Polycrates' rule, Amasis sought an alliance with Polycrates on account of the threat posed by the Persians. Polycrates could provide naval forces to protect the Way of Horus, the main thoroughfare along the coast. The alliance later fell apart when Polycrates threw his support to Cambyses after he became king (i.e. after August 530 BC).

This synchronism between Polycrates and Amasis in the backdrop of the Persian threat is consistent with the independent Egyptian chronology and Achaemenid chronology. There wouldn't have been an Amasis in Egypt at that time if he remained in captivity for 40 years following his Year 4.

Year 40 of Amasis (531/530 BC)

Pennsylvania E 16339. Dated to Year 40, Month Tobi, Day 14 (= May 16, 531 BC). A demotic letter from el-Hiba.

Year 41 of Amasis (530/529 BC)

BM 10710. Dated to Year 41 of Amasis. A demotic palimpsest giving an accounting of building materials.

P Berlin 13615 + 13606 + 15824. Dated to Year 41, Month Khoiak (= April/May 530 BC). This is a demotic palimpsest listing the members of an army sent to Nubia in a military expedition.

It is worth noting that Amasis first appears in the historical record as a general in the military campaign against Nubia in Year 3 of Psammetichus II (c. 592 BC). This military expedition is mentioned in Herodotus and there is an inscription of Amasis on a statuette from this event. The Letter of Aristeas 13 also states that Jews were included in the military forces sent to Nubia. If Amasis were 20 years old in Year 3 of Psammetichus II (and probably somewhat older), he would have been at least 82 years old in his Year 41 and 85 years old when he died in his Year 44. He would have been in his 90s if he served as a general in his 30s back in the reign of Psammetichus II. If we insert another 40 years into his reign as a hiatus, this would put him in his 120s or 130s when he died, which is again an impossible age.

Year 42 of Amasis (529/528 BC)

Heliopolis Stele. Dated to Year 42 of Amasis (= 529 BC). Monument of Djedatumiwef'ankh on building activity in Heliopolis.

Year 43 of Amasis (528/527 BC)

P Berlin 13617 + 23676. A demotic contract for a land lease in Elephantine.

Year 44 of Amasis (527/526 BC)

Bodleian Library MS. Egypt. a. 40. Dated to Year 44. A marriage contract written in demotic.

P Rylands IX. Dated to Year 9 of Darius (= 513 BC), but mentions that Psammetkmenempe from the Delta sent an envoy to obtain his stipend each year until Year 44 of Amasis.

The mention of Year 44 as a terminus in P Rylands IX suggest that Year 44 was Amasis' last full year. Similarly the Demotic Chronicle (P No. 215) states that in Year 3 of Darius, the king ordered the Egyptian satrap Aryandes to codify the legal system that had been in use in Egypt until Year 44 of Amasis. Amasis was followed by Psammetichus III, who reigned only for 6 months according to Herodotus, whose reign came to an end with the invasion of Cambyses in May/June 525 BC. The latter date is universally accepted and widely attested (cf. Diodorus Siculus who stated that Cambyses invaded Egypt in the third year of the 63rd Olympiad, which ended in the summer of 525 BC). Herodotus and Manetho, the two most reliable authorities, gave 44 years for the reign of Amasis. There are three papyri dated to Year 2 of Psammeticus III's reign, to the months of Hathor (March 525 BC), Khoiak (April 525 BC), and Tobi (May 525 BC). The first document dated to Cambyses is Cairo 50060, dated to Year 5 of Cambyses, Month Pakhons, Day 17 (= September 14, 525 BC). The apparent discrepensy between Herodotus/Manetho and the papyri is resolved by supposing that the aged Amasis had a prolonged illness prior to his death and was unable to rule, with Psammetichus becoming co-ruler during what would have been Year 45 of Amasis (526/525 BC). Psammetichus ruled as pharaoh early in 526 BC but Amasis did not die until around December of that year. Thus contemporary documents treated what would have been Year 35 of Amasis as Year 1 of Psammetichus III, while Herodotus gave Psammetichus III a six-month reign because he counted only his reign from the time Amasis had died."

  • Hello and welcome to the site. Can you please do two things: 1) use quote formatting to clearly mark out which parts of this are quotes and which are your original words, 2) provide a summary of your answer.
    – curiousdannii
    Feb 8, 2019 at 14:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .